The Varnish

Dark and discreet, The Varnish is a speakeasy lounge located in the historic core of downtown LA that features a vintage wooden bar, intimate atmosphere and immaculate hand-crafted cocktails.

Cocktail culture reaches new heights at The Varnish, a speakeasy bar found in downtown LA where the lights are dark, the cocktails are strong and the atmosphere is that of a clandestine rendezvous. An intimate space with wood paneling and candlelight, The Varnish is classy and discreet lounge that is easily one of the best cocktail bars in the country.

Contact Information

118 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Venue Category

Bar in Los Angeles

Step through a discreet door into a darkened speakeasy and discover one of America’s best cocktail bars in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles. Tucked behind Cole’s restaurant, this wooden watering hole will make you feel like you’re back in the roaring 20s, from the vintage décor to the old-fashioned gin cocktails to the throwback outfits worn by the staff. A beautifully built bar with dark woods, exposed brick and candlelight, The Varnish has become the favorite incognito destination for celebrities, including Christina Hendricks and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Classy and clandestine, this intimate lounge features several small tables, a piano and a cocktail menu full of unique and unusual flavors to explore. Order drinks like The Poet's Dream, Bitter Bee or Sazerac, or simply have one of the bartenders customize a libation on the spot based on your favorite flavors and liquors. The Varnish brings mixology to new heights with expertly crafted cocktails – this is not the place to order a vodka-cran. The speakeasy's bar is a showcase for the amazing array of liquors they serve, along with an ice-down tray of fruits, herbs and spices to embellish the drinks. An ideal spot for a late-night rendezvous, The Varnish is a mainstay of LA's new cocktail culture.

Review By


The Varnish is actually located inside Cole's restaurant, a historic establishment opened in 1908 that claims to have invented the French Dip roast beef sandwich.

The Varnish is a tiny place that fills up fast, so if you don’t like waiting in line, head there on weeknights or early in the evening on Friday and Saturday nights. Skid row is around the corner, so for best results, pay to park in a guarded lot.


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